The Good Ship: Brent Council passes application to build flats above popular former live music venue, igniting fears for its future

The Blackchords play at The Good Ship, Kilburn, in 2010. The music venue shut last year. Picture: Pa

The Blackchords play at The Good Ship, Kilburn, in 2010. The music venue shut last year. Picture: Paul Carless/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Plans to build nine flats above cherished Kilburn music venue The Good Ship have been given the green light by Brent’s planning committee – and music fans are furious.

The decision was made on December 12 despite a community campaign to have it blocked.

Adele, The xx and Kate Nash have all performed on the illustrious stage, but the venue was forced to close in October last year over licensing issues.

Since then there has been growing concern that the new owner could redevelop the site with little or no consideration for the Good Ship’s cultural significance. In June, the council rejected an application to remove the live music venue altogether.

The applicant is KHR Properties, whose directors are Kevin Timothy Moran and Michael Patrick Moran. Both are also listed at Companies House as directors of M P Moran & Sons – the plumbing and building materials shop separated from the Good Ship by an access road. The proposal appears to suggest linking the two buildings by building flats between them, suspended over the street.

Musicians, comedians and community activists have bemoaned the latest setback in Kilburn’s fight to maintain its cultural heritage.

“You could tell the Good Ship’s passion was nurturing up-and-coming bands,” said James Aldred, an aspiring musician.

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“If they’re planning to have flats on top with live music underneath it will clearly only be there for a few months.”

But when asked whether noise insulation had been considered for the flats, project architect David Bellis simply said: “That’s something we’ll address at the next stage, at building control.”

Despite 18 objections, it only took a matter of minutes for Brent Council to unanimously approve the application. Labour Cllr James Denselow (Lab, Queen’s Park), who was chairing the planning committee, wrapped up proceedings by joking: “We can all be very happy about pub provision being maintained – although Kilburn is never short of a pub.”

Community campaigner Lloyd Fothergill said: “Brent planning were won over by the developers’ slick presentation.” He fears the Good Ship could go the same way as the Corrib Rest, a community space in Queen’s Park that closed after a similar redevelopment.

Last year Brent Council announced it would dispose of the Corrib Rest’s protected status as “an asset of community value” in the very same month that the Good Ship last opened its doors.

“After a few months the developers will apply to Brent planning for ‘change of use’ on the grounds that a music venue is non-viable,” Lloyd predicted.

Update (December 28)

Cllr Denselow told the Kilburn Times today: “We are very supportive of measures to improve the night time economy in Brent and our vision for Kilburn, as set out in our draft Local Plan, is for it to be a bustling night time destination.

“Live performance is a key aspect of this. In planning terms, the Good Ship is a pub where live music was performed rather than a dedicated live music venue. Because of this we insisted that the pub is replaced, but we could not insist that live music is performed in the new pub.

“Nevertheless, we sought reassurances that the layout of the new spaces would be as good if not better for live music. Pubs help to make Kilburn a vibrant night time destination and live performances within the pubs make a valuable contribution to this.

“Any future planning applications would need to be considered on their merits against planning policy and guidance.”